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Fan Speak: T

Compiled/Edited by Jon D. Swartz, N3F Historian

There are many words and abbreviations of special relevance to science fiction. In addition, over the years science fiction fandom has created many new terms. A list of some of these words and abbreviations is provided here for N3F members and for any others who are interested in the history of science fiction and science fiction fandom. Additions and/or corrections are invited.


  • Tabloid – A magazine approximately 11 by 16 inches in size. The British magazine Science Fiction Monthly was this size.
  • TAFF – Transatlantic Fan Fund (see Fan Funds).
  • TANSTAAFL – Abbreviation for There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (a fannish dictum coined by author Robert Heinlein).
  • TAPA – Abbreviation for the APA Terran Amateur Press Association.
  • TAPS – Abbreviation for the Terran Amateur Press Society, an APA characterized by a rotating Official Editor, in which each member takes a turn at sending out the mailing.
  • TASFIC – Short for Tenth Anniversary Science Fiction Convention, held in Chicago in 1952 and popularly known as Chicon II. Hugo Gernsback was Guest of Honor; Julian C. May was Con Chair.
  • TATS – Abbreviation for Tentacles Across the Sea, which see.
  • TAWF – The Tenth Anniversary Willis Fund, a special fund set up to transport British SF fans Walt and Madeleine Willis to Chicago in 1962.
  • TC – Short for The Circle.
  • Techie – A member of General Technics, a Midwestern fan club whose members are interested in do-it-yourself technology and rocketry, or to anyone in fandom with such interests. The term has also come into mundane use to describe computer engineers and other technical professionals.
  • Television Tie-In – A book issued in conjunction with a television feature or series.
  • Tentacles Across the Sea – Organization formed in the 1950s to exchange dollar and sterling currencies, in order to facilitate payment of FAPA dues, etc.
  • Texas SF Inquirer – Hugo-award winning (1987) SF fanzine, edited by Pat Mueller.
  • TFS – Abbreviation for the Toledo Fantasy Society.
  • TFSC – Abbreviation for the Teen’s Fantascience Club.
  • “That crazy Buck Rogers stuff” – Public perception of science fiction, especially in the early pulp magazine days, the reference being to the Buck Rogers comic strip.
  • “That REAL Old-Time Religion” – A filk song with over 650 verses, sung to the familiar revival tune, chronicling the lives of mythological gods/goddesses with outrageous puns.
  • Thingie – An item, or any item. See Flange.
  • Third Fandom – The historical stage of SF fandom from 1940 to 1944.
  • Third Retch – An aborted plan of LAFandom to take over SF fandom. A parody of World War II.
  • Thish/Thisish – Contractions of “This Issue”. See Ish.
  • Thnx – Short for “Thanks” or “Thank You.”
  • Thomas D. Clareson Award – The Clareson Award for Distinguished Service has been presented since 1996 for outstanding service activities: promotion of SF teaching/study, editing, reviewing, editorial writing, publishing, organizing meetings, mentoring, and leadership in SF/fantasy organizations. The first recipient was Frederik Pohl.
  • Thought variants – An idea of pulp editor/writer F. Orlin Tremaine, intended to get original elements (ideas, plots, treatment, etc.) into SF stories. As editor of ASF in the 1930s, he featured at least one “thought variant” story in each issue.
  • Thrust — Science Fiction in Review. A genzine that began as the organ of the University of Maryland Science Fiction Society early in 1972. Editor D. Douglas Fratz made it an independent publication in 1977, emphasizing critical comments on current SF. Several well-known SF writers/personalities contributed columns to the publication, including Michael Bishop, Charles Sheffield, and Ted White. Thrust was a Hugo finalist for best fanzine in 1980, and for best semi-professional magazine in 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991 (the last year under its new title Quantum).
  • Thud and Blunder – Action stories in SF prozines that feature space opera.
  • Th-v – Abbreviation for thought variants, which see.
  • Tie-ins – Comic books that contain stories relating to other stories in other comic books. The term also refers to novelizations that are published to coincide with the release date of a film or TV program.
  • Tightbeam – A fanzine of N3F. See National Fantasy Fan Federation.
  • Timebinders – An organization of fans, established in 1994 as the Society for the Preservation of the History of Science Fiction Fandom; it is interested in the preservation of old fanzines and the promotion of research on fandom.
  • Timebinding – A term/concept originated by semanticist Alfred Korzybski. In fandom it refers to the uniquely human quality of appreciating/passing on information to future generations through communication, thus allowing the future to build on the past. See Timebinders.
  • Timebinding Day – August 9th honors the birthday of John B. (Jack) Speer, author of Up To Now (1939), the first history of SF fandom, and Fancyclopedia (1944).
  • The Time Traveller – Early SF fanzine produced by Mort Weisinger and Julius Schwartz, with Allen Glasser as editor, premier issue dated January 9, 1932. It ran for nine issues — until November 1932. Often abbreviated as TTT.
  • Tiptree Award – The James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award recognizes “gender bending” SF or fantasy from the previous year. The name honors the SF writer James Tiptree, Jr. (1915-1987), the pseudonym of Dr. Alice B. Sheldon, an experimental psychologist.
  • TLC – Abbreviation for The London Circle, a British SF club.
  • TNFF – Abbreviation for The National Fantasy Fan, a fanzine of N3F. See National Fantasy Fan Federation.
  • TNO – Abbreviation for The Nameless Ones, which see.
  • TOC/ToC/toc – Abbreviations for Table of Contents.
  • Tolkien Society – A British fan group devoted to fantasy author J. R. R. Tolkien and his work.
  • Tolkienzine – A fanzine featuring the life and work of J. R. R. Tolkien.
  • Tomoro – Fan spelling of tomorrow.
  • Torcon – The 1948 Worldcon, held in Toronto, Canada. Robert Bloch was GoH; Bob Tucker was fan GoH; Ned McKeown was Con Chair.
  • Torcon 2 – The 1973 Worldcon, held in Toronto, Canada. Robert Bloch was GoH; William Rotsler was fan GoH; Lester del Rey was toastmaster; John Millard was Con Chair.
  • Trade – Method of obtaining fanzines by fan editors (i.e., one fanzine is traded for another rather than obtained by buying or by a LOC, which see).
  • Trap Door – An annual genzine, edited by Robert Lichtman.
  • Trekfan – Name for the more serious Star Trek fan.
  • Trekker – Another name for a fan of Star Trek.
  • Trekkie – Another name for a fan of Star Trek.
  • Tribe X – A British fantasy world, related to PADS, in which living fans are used as characters.
  • Tricon – The 1966 World SF Convention, held in Cleveland, OH. L. Sprague de Camp was GoH; Isaac Asimov was toastmaster; Ben Jason was Con Chair.
  • Trimbled – Lost under a pile of kipple, never to be found again. See Kipple.
  • Tripoli – Nickname of SF personality E. Everett Evans (Triple E).
  • True fan/Trufan – One who is seriously immersed in various forms of fan-ac. See Actifan. See FIAWOL.
  • Trufandom – The body of trufans who make up the core of fandom.
  • Tru fen/Trufen – Plural of True fan/Trufan, which see.
  • Trumpet – A fanzine once published by SF fan Tom Reamy.
  • TS – Short for the Tolkien Society, which see.
  • TSR – Role playing game company in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, publisher of Dungeons and Dragons.
  • TT – Short for the The Terrean.
  • TTT – Short for The Time Traveller.
  • Tubby – Nickname of SF fan T. Bruce Yerke.
  • Tucker, Bob – Name by which SF fan Arthur Wilson Tucker was known in fandom. He published his professional work as Wilson Tucker.
  • Tucker Hotel – A fan’s dream con hotel, complete with every desirable feature and none of the undesirable ones.
  • Tuckerism – Long-time SF fan/author Arthur Wilson “Bob” Tucker made a habit of using the names of fans and writers for characters in his SF and mystery stories. Some members of fandom liked this practice, some did not.
  • Tuckerize – To place the names of friends into one’s stories. See Tuckerism.
  • TVTI – Abbreviation for Television Tie-In, which see.
  • Twiddlepop – Sheer crud, garbage.
  • The Twilight Zone Magazine – Slick genre magazine published during the 1980s, also known as Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine. Despite the title (Serling had died in 1975), the editor was T. E. D. Klein.
  • Twil-tone – A brand name for an obsolete type of mimeograph paper once commonly used for fanzine reproduction.
  • Twippledop – An individual zine made into a department of another zine.
  • Twonk’s Disease – The ultimate in afflictions of any nature, possibly synonymous with falling of the armpits.
  • Type 15 fan – A dangerous maniac who is to be avoided at all costs (from Joe Gilbert’s graphology article that described several types of fans).
  • Typer – Short for typewriter.
  • Typo – Short for typographical error.
  • Typover – A method of ignoring typos by simply typing over them.

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